Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol, drugs or other substances is a serious crime. Not only can driving under the influence cause harm to your vehicle, yourself or others, but driving under the influence can also have serious legal repercussions and costs associated with it. Take a look at the consequences of driving under the influence as presented here.
Defining a DUI
It’s not always illegal to have one drink and then to drive. It is, however, illegal to operate a motor vehicle if a) your blood alcohol content is over .08% or b) you have any alcohol in your system and you’re under the legal drinking age of twenty-one. If you are pulled over for suspected intoxication or impairment while driving, the officer has the right to ask you for a blood or breathalyzer test to discover your blood alcohol content level. Most states have complied consent laws in place, which mean that as soon as you pull your car over for the officer, you are giving your consent to have your breath tested for alcohol. If the breathalyzer test shows your blood alcohol content level to be at or above .08%, you will be arrested.
Going to Court
After you are arrested for a DUI charge, you will have to go to court where you will either plead guilty or not guilty to the charge. If your blood alcohol content was above .08%, it’s likely that you will be found guilty. If you are found guilty, then you will be convicted of a DUI. DUI conviction is quite costly.
If Convicted of a DUI
If you’re convicted of a DUI, the first thing that you’ll have to worry about is the fees and fines associated with conviction. First off, you’ll have to pay a fine, usually between $500 and $2,000, depending on the state. You’ll also have to pay lawyer and court fees. Additionally, there’s a good chance that you’ll get your license suspended for up to eighteen months, have to do mandatory community service, and may even have to enter a mandatory rehabilitation or alcohol education program which will cost you money and time.
Getting in an Accident While Driving Under the Influence
The consequences listed above are the most minimal negative effects that drinking and driving could have on a person’s life. If driving under the influence results in property damage or bodily harm to another person, if you’re driving with a minor in the vehicle while under the influence, or if driving under the influence results in the death of another person, the consequences become much more serious.
In cases such as these, the DUI charge moves from a misdemeanor to a felony. A felony charge can result in hefty fines, prison time, suspension of your license, and the revocation of certain privileges, such as voting.
Long Term Implications
Drinking and driving has long-term implications. If you harm another person while driving under the influence, this harm can never be undone.
A DUI charge will also stay on your record unless your charge is acquitted. Future employers, universities, or programs that run background checks will be able to see a DUI charge on your record, which could impede your ability to get hired or get accepted into university. DUI charges can also result in thousands of dollars worth of expenditures, causing a person to accumulate significant debt. The lesson is simple: don’t drink and drive—the consequences aren’t worth it.
This article was contributed by Vito Sanchez, a car enthusiast who hopes to help you become a better driver. He writes this on behalf of Bay Area Recovery, your number one choice when seeking treatment for drug addiction. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!